Need help preparing for an interview

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In summary, Jedishrfu advises preparing a speech about his research work in his M.Sc. program, digging into a related paper from the professor's group, and listing his motivations for Ph.D.
  • #1
Hi. I am going to apply to a physics Ph.D. program at UBC, and I just received an interview invitation from a professor after I contacted him. I have never taken part in any interview, so I am pretty worried about how to prepare for it. There are tons of websites teaching me how to prepare. Still, I think it may be best also to seek advice here since I believe you may have more experience in physics than me.

I will prepare a speech about my research work in my M.Sc. program, dig into a related paper from the professor's group, and list my motivations for Ph.D. What else should I prepare?

Thanks ahead.
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  • #2
While waiting for responses from folks who've given or taken a PhD program interview, I found this helpful blog on the process:

Here’s what you need to be prepared to discuss at your PhD Interview:

    1)  Your PhD goals

    2)  Why this PhD program

    3)  Your research interests

    4)  Important issues in your field

    5)  Your PhD resume and statement of purpose

    6)  Relevant grant projects

    7)  Teaching/mentoring experiences

    8)  Your fit with your target PhD program

    9)  Questions about the PhD program

    10) Life as a PhD student
  • #3
@jedishrfu Thanks! This helps a lot and the website is useful.
  • #4
I’d look at your interview like a job interview. The interviewer looks at what you provided in your application, in any papers you submitted, in your transcripts for any gaps or anomalies and may test your knowledge of certain skills.

Interviewers are trying to decide how you might fit in with the team. As an example, a senior grad student with a critical skill is leaving so the interviewer needs to reorganize the team a bit assigning someone the seniors work and then finding someone join and take up the slack.

Review what you sent in and think like an interviewer. You could also ask one of your profs to help you prepare with a mock interview.

As an example, if you took time off between jobs then the interviewer might want to know why and so you should have a good answer. If you had a problem in some course they want to know why. if you switched majors along the way they might want to know why.

Just think of simple answers for these gaps that don’t elicit unnecessary additional questions.

Ive done interviews for students applying for summer internships at the lab and this is how we handled the interviews.

ONE KEY POINT: it’s okay to ask questions about the PhD program, the work environment, computing facilities, hardware/software tools used and other relevant questions.

Make your interview a dialog where they are interviewing you and you are interviewing them.
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What should I wear to an interview?

It is important to dress professionally for an interview. This typically means wearing business attire such as a suit or dress pants and a nice blouse or button-down shirt. Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed, and avoid wearing anything too flashy or revealing.

How should I prepare for common interview questions?

Research common interview questions and think about how you would answer them. Practice answering them out loud, and consider asking a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you. This will help you feel more confident and prepared during the actual interview.

What kind of research should I do before an interview?

Research the company you are interviewing with, including their mission, values, and any recent news or developments. Also, research the position you are interviewing for and make sure you understand the job duties and requirements.

How early should I arrive for an interview?

It is recommended to arrive 10-15 minutes early for an interview. This will give you time to find the location, use the restroom, and calm your nerves before the interview begins.

What questions should I ask during an interview?

Prepare a list of questions to ask during the interview, such as asking about the company culture, growth opportunities, or specific projects or responsibilities related to the job. This shows the interviewer that you are interested and engaged in the position.

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